Country of Origin: Great Britain
Height: 12–13 in
Weight: 11–18 lb
Coat: Long, silky, straight or slight wave; feathering
Colors: Blenheim (chestnut markings on white background), tricolor (black markings on white background and tan markings), ruby (rich red), black and tan (black with bright tan markings)
Registries (With Group): AKC (Toy); UKC (Companion)
ORIGIN AND HISTORY
Toy spaniels were developed in Great Britain circa CE 1016, and their first function was that of a hunter. By the 1500s, their hunting days long gone, these dogs were companions to the wealthy, as only the rich could afford a dog who didn’t earn his keep by ratting or hunting. In the 1600s, both King Charles I and King Charles II adored the breed, and it was from the latter that they were eventually named the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. During the Victorian era, the breed was crossed with Pugs and the Japanese Chin and became what is now called the King Charles Spaniel (“Charlies”) in the United Kingdom and the English Toy Spaniel in the United States. By this time, the “old type” of toy spaniel was almost extinct, as the Victorians preferred the domed skull of the Charlies.
In the 1920s, curious as to whether any of the longer-headed Cavalier toy spaniels often depicted in paintings still existed, American Roswell Eldridge began offering prize money to exhibitors at the Crufts dog show in England who could bring him “Blenheim Spaniels of the Old World type.” The offer of cash was tempting enough that several breeders worked to bring back the old style. These dogs became what is known today as the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Since its recognition by the Kennel Club (KC) in 1944, the Cavalier has achieved notable popularity, counting among his admirers such high-powered people as Princess Margaret and President Ronald Reagan.
While some can be reserved, it is the rare Cavalier who does not greet everyone and everything with great joy. Still, he is not a hyper dog at all; rather, he is naturally well-behaved and downright adoring, with big expressive eyes and a tail that seems to be constantly wagging. Large enough to be able to handle romps in the great outdoors but small enough to fit snugly in a lap, he is a versatile, endearing dog. Because Cavaliers are so people-oriented, they are not content to spend a lot of time alone. They get along well with children and other animals.
- Exercise: The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel needs regular exercise but can adapt to the activity level of his owner. He is especially fond of walks around the block with his family and daily play sessions, both of which will keep his exercise needs satisfied.
- Grooming: The silky coat of the Cavalier is easy to keep clean and shiny using a firm-bristled brush and wide-toothed comb several times a week.
- Life Span: The average life span of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is 12 to 14 years.
- Training: Cavalier King Charles Spaniels want to please and are fairly easy to train. They may need some extra time with housetraining, but they eagerly respond to positive training.
Excerpt from World Atlas of Dog Breeds, 6th Edition. © 2009 TFH Publications, Inc.